SI Vault
Jill Lieber
September 04, 1989
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September 04, 1989


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The settlement danced around the question of whether Rose had bet on baseball. The agreement stated that Giamatti would not make any "formal findings or determinations" on the allegations that Rose had done so, and said that "nothing in this agreement shall be deemed either an admission or a denial by Peter Edward Rose of the allegation that he bet on any Major League Baseball game."

But under questioning by reporters, Giamatti said that, without having seen any firm evidence to the contrary, he believed that Rose had bet on baseball and on Reds games. That assertion underscored the ambiguity of the settlement. The agreement stated that Rose violated Major League Rule 21, which covers a wide variety of misconduct. But which section of Rule 21 was being applied to Rose? Under Section (d) anyone found to have bet on games involving his team is declared permanently ineligible. Under Section (f) anyone found to have engaged in unspecified conduct not "in the best interests of baseball" can also be ruled permanently ineligible.

Because the settlement did not specify which section was germane in this case, the two sides were free to offer their own interpretations. Thus, Giamatti said that Rose's alleged baseball betting was one reason that Rose had been banned for life. But Rose's attorneys maintained that their client was banned under Section (f) for reasons unrelated to baseball betting—his questionable associations and the illegal wagers he has admitted placing with bookies on football and basketball games. In an interview with SI, Katz said, "Why did he agree to this punishment? The answer is that regardless of what the decision is on whether he bet on baseball, or the Reds, he was going to get this punishment. So why go through all of the torture, the expense, the damage to baseball and to everyone else, for nothing?"

At his press conference on Thursday, Rose said, "To think that I'm going to be out of baseball for a very short period of time hurts." He is the 15th person to be banned permanently from baseball. None of his 14 predecessors was reinstated.

Rose wasn't exactly contrite. "Obviously I've made some mistakes," he said, "but one of the mistakes wasn't betting on baseball." When asked if he planned to seek treatment for a possible gambling addiction. Rose paused and said, "I don't think I have a gambling problem at all. So consequently, I won't seek any help of any kind." On Monday, Rose appeared to soften his stance, telling The Cincinnati Post he would not rule out counseling.

Giamatti said he felt unqualified to determine whether Rose is a gambling addict. Katz acknowledged in the SI interview that his client "gambles too much. He has a problem." But Katz declined to characterize the problem as an illness, saying that if Rose can't cut back on his gambling, "then he has to face it. If he continues to do those things, of course he's not coming back. That's his decision." Joseph Cambra, a convicted Somerset, Mass., bookmaker who has been a friend of Rose's for several years, told SI's Martin F. Dardis that Rose "needs treatment." In the Dowd report, Rose was quoted as denying that he knew Cambra was a bookmaker, but last month The Boston Globe reported a conversation on a tape made by the Massachusetts State Police between Cambra and another bookie discussing a $6,000 bet that Rose had placed on a Seattle- Los Angeles Raiders NFL game in 1984. "Pete told too many stories," Cambra said to Dardis. "If he'd stuck to one story, he'd have been all right."

On Thursday, for the second straight night, Rose flew to Plymouth, Minn., to hawk autographed balls ($39.94 each), plaques ($79.92), bats ($229) and uniform shirts ($399.92) on the Cable Value Network. It was painful to watch Rose degrade himself

Giamatti may be the only person to have come through the Rose case with his stature enhanced. His patient handling of the situation could end up strengthening his office and the game. "The matter of Mr. Rose is now closed," said Giamatti. "Let no one think that it did not hurt baseball. That hurt will pass, however, as the great glory of the game asserts itself and a resilient institution goes forward. Let it also be clear that no individual is superior to the game."

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